Five Songs

Song Cycle by Jack Hamilton Beeson (b. 1921)

1. On a spiritual fever [sung text not yet checked]

E'en like two little bank-dividing brooks,
 That wash the pebbles with their wanton streams,
And having ranged and search'd a thousand nooks,
 Meet both at length in silver-breasted Thames,
 Where in a greater current they conjoin:
So I my Best-beloved's am; so He is mine.

E'en so we met; and after long pursuit,
 E'en so we joined; we both became entire;
No need for either to renew a suit,
 For I was flax, and He was flames of fire:
 Our firm-united souls did more than twine;
So I my Best-beloved's am; so He is mine.

If all those glittering Monarchs, that command
 The servile quarters of this earthly ball,
Should tender in exchange their shares of land,
 I would not change my fortunes for them all:
 Their wealth is but a counter to my coin:
The world 's but theirs; but my Beloved's mine. 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

2. A good night [sung text not yet checked]

Close thine eyes and sleep secure,
Thy soul is safe, thy body sure;
He that guards thee, He [that]1 keeps,
[Never]2 slumbers, never sleeps.
A quiet conscience, in a quiet breast
Has only peace, has only rest:
The music and the mirth of kings
Are out of tune, unless she sings.
Then close thine eyes [in peace and rest]3 secure,
No sleep so sweet as thine, no rest so sure.

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Confirmed with Literary Curiosities and Eccentricities, A Book of Anecdote, Laconic Sayings, and Gems of Thought, in Prose and Verse, ed. by W. A. Clouston. London: Ward, Lock & Tyler, Warwick House, Paternoster Row, E. C., 1876, p. 157, in which it is titled "Last poem of Charles the First" and the note beneath the title says "This poem is given by Nahum Tate, in his Miscellanea Sacra", 1698. The poem is in fact by Francis Quarles.

1 Purcell: "thee"
2 Purcell: "Who never"
3 Plumstead: "and sleep"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

3. On the World [sung text not yet checked]

The world's an Inn; and I her guest.
I eat; I drink; I take my rest.
My hostess, nature, does deny me
Nothing, wherewith she can supply me;
Where, having stayed a while, I pay
Her lavish bills, and go my way. 


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

4. Epigram [sung text not yet checked]

My soul, sit thou a patient looker-on ;
Judge not the play before the play is done :
Her plot hath many changes ; every day
Speaks a new scene ; the last act crowns the play.


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

5. On Death [sung text not yet checked]

Why should we not, as well, desire death,
As sleep? No difference, but a little breath;
'Tis all but rest; 'tis all but a releasing
Our tired limbs; why then not alike pleasing?
Being burthened with the sorrows of the day,
We wish for night; which, being come, we lay
Our bodies down; yet when our very breath
Is irksome to us, we're afraid of death:
Our sleep is oft accompanied with frights,
Distracting dreams and dangers of the nights;
When in the sheets of death, our bodies sure
From all such evils, and we sleep secure:
What matter, down, or earth? what boots it whether?
Alas, our body's sensible of neither:
Things that are senseless, feel nor pains nor ease;
Tell me; and why not worms as well as fleas?
In sleep, we know not whether our closed eyes
Shall ever wake; from death we're sure to rise:
Aye, but 'tis long first; O, is that our fears?
Dare we trust God for nights? and not for years?


Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
Total word count: 462